Researchers with Disney Research have been exploring the possibility of creating robots that can perform acrobatics, the company has revealed. During the 2018 International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the team introduced Stickman, a robot shaped like a “z” that can perform select acrobatic tricks. Joining that is a newly published video showing the robot in action.
Thanks to Disney Research’s work, we may one day be graced with robotic acrobatic shows that feature robots doing flips and other dazzling tricks while flying through the air. The team showcased one such trick — a somersault off a rope — in the video below, proving that it’s more than just a fun concept.
According to Disney, its researchers have been looking into different ways to enable robots to perform these tricks. The team presented their research in a presentation called “Stickman: Towards a Human-Scale Acrobatic Robot.” Stickman, as shown above, has a couple hinges and can fold into a “z” shape.
The team used laser rangefinders and an inertial measurement unit to enable Stickman to perform the somersault demonstrated in the video above. Put simply, Stickman can swing from an aerial pendulum, then let it go and flip a couple times while in the air before landing on a cushion.
Thanks to the integrated sensors, Disney explains that Stickman can monitor its position and makes adjustments as necessary, enabling it to tuck or untuck itself for a safe landing. The company hasn’t revealed any business plans for the new robotic technology.